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NASA Finds Cracked, Frozen Plains in Pluto’s Heart

posted: 07/17/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Plains on Pluto
NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

NASA has another addition to the list of unexpected discoveries on Pluto: "a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes".

The surprising plains are located in the heart of Pluto's heart-shaped feature, first revealed on camera earlier this week. NASA has informally named the area the Sputnik Plain, and the agency says that the feature resembles frozen mud cracks found on Earth.

Pluto's plains are marked with miles-long dark streaks, which astronomers believe are caused by winds blowing across the dwarf planet's frozen surface.

"This terrain is not easy to explain," remarked Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team. "The discovery of vast, craterless, very young plains on Pluto exceeds all pre-flyby expectations."

Click here for more information from NASA

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